Rogate will start district’s Olympic torch route

C120388-2 Mid Olympic phot kate''''Annette Sawyer who is running with the olympic flame.C120388-2
C120388-2 Mid Olympic phot kate''''Annette Sawyer who is running with the olympic flame.C120388-2

There were winning smiles all round in Rogate this week when details of the Olympic torch route were revealed.

Rogate will mark the start of the torch relay route for the Observer area when it arrives in the village via convoy from Petersfield on Monday, July 16.

Among the torch-bearers from this area are Annette Sawyer, who has lived and worked in Midhurst for more than 20 years, and Tillington resident Gerald Gresham-Cooke. Taking part in the Duncton leg will be Midhurst Rother College student Ryan Hodd-Jarvis who was chosen because he looks after his parents, who both have ME.

News of the route was launched on Monday at Rogate Village Stores and involved Annette, children from Rogate CoE Primary School as well as the parish council and Chichester District Council.

Annette, 54, was nominated by her sister to be torchbearer. She is a member of the Lowland Search and Rescue Team and was at the launch with her four legged friend Summer.

Both Gerald and Annette were told about their selection last Thursday, but Gerald was away this week and unable to attend the launch.

“I’m very, very excited and I’m just very honoured to have been chosen from all the people put forward,” she said. “It’s really good the way they have included lots of people who are unsung heroes really.”

Headteacher of Rogate Primary School Mandy Hall said it would be a very special day for the children and the Olympics would be a strong presence in class.

“I think it’s really good getting everybody from the village involved in the launch. It’s going to be very exciting for the children with the torch going right through the village.

“All of our topics for the summer term have been reorganised so they are actually all going to be doing something on the Olympics during the summer term.”

Mrs Hall said the children would be taking part in an Olympic-themed sports day. In addition all the schools in the Rother Valley area will be organising a mini-Olympics event in July with one child from every year group at every school taking part. The school will also be holding an Olympic fete.

“There is lots going on,” said Mrs Hall. “It will only happen once in their lifetime and so we want to make the most of it.”

Chairman of Rogate Parish Council Shon Sprackling said: “We are obviously very keen as a parish council to support any celebrations as it is going through our village and welcome ideas from our parishioners and others as to how we might mark the occasion.

“There is a lot going on what with the Jubilee and so on, and with the torch coming through our village it’s absolutely fantastic.”

Chichester district councillor Elieen Lintell, who represents Petworth said: “There are some really interesting torch- bearers and it’s really great to see local people who others can relate to and know well and have done things to serve their community as well.”

Cllr Lintell said July 16 would be a busy day for her, starting off at Petworth Park at in the morning for a welcome event involving 800 schoolchildren and a fun day of activities. After seeing the torch arrive she will be rushing off to Chichester to greet the torch relay team when it arrives in the city after 11.30am.

“We hope communities will come out and support the flame as it comes through the district and take the opportunity to come together and have fun together,” she added.